No. 12 Cincinnati braces for Wyoming in Cayman final

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin is concerned that the focus and drive his No. 12 Bearcats showed against Richmond on Tuesday, especially on defense, will not be as forceful against Wyoming in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic on Wednesday.

He was similarly anxious Monday during a first-round game against Buffalo at the 2,000-seat John Gray Gymnasium in George Town, Cayman Islands. The Bearcats (5-0) held on to beat Buffalo 73-67 in that game despite leading by 13 points at halftime.

"You can't let this game make you soft," Cronin said after his team routed Richmond 75-48 in a semifinal contest. "Success and accolades, they soften you up. I told our veterans to make sure our team doesn't soak in softness because it kills you."

Wyoming (4-0) advanced to face Cincinnati with a 70-61 victory over Louisiana in the other semifinal.

The Cowboys held Louisiana to 33.3 percent shooting, including only 14.8 percent from 3-point range. The Ragin' Cajuns averaged 96 points in their four previous games.

Wyoming's depth was significant Tuesday with reserves Alexander Aka Gorski (team-high 16 points) and Lou Adams (14) leading in scoring. Nyaires Redding (13 points) and Alan Herndon (10 points, seven rebounds) were also in double figures.

"We wanted our energy to go to another level, but at the same time, we wanted to hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor, feeling like our offense would be a little bit better than it was the first night out," Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said.

Wyoming beat South Dakota State 77-65 in the first round despite making only 8 of 30 shots from 3-point range.

Gorski, Adams and Redding were a combined 5 of 9 from beyond the arc against Louisiana.

"They have good guard play and they can shoot the ball," Cronin said of Wyoming. "They will try to spread us out. They are going to test our being able to defend the (3-point) line and not get beat off the dribble because they do spread you and they have guys who can take care of the ball and they have guys who can make shots.

"I think we have the advantage with strength and rebounding and physicality in this game."

The Bearcats dominated Richmond 35-22 in rebounding.

Cincinnati forward Gary Clark, who is 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, finished with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve guard Cane Broome (13 points) and starting guard Jacob Evans (12) were the only Bearcats to score in double figures.

"The script went pretty well today because I didn't want to play anybody too much (with three games in three days)," Cronin said. "Once we got to halftime (leading 40-14), I was thinking about tomorrow, to be honest with you.

"If there was no game tomorrow, I could have left Clark in to get a triple-double, but I wanted to save him for the next game."

Wyoming was not at full strength against Louisiana. Preseason all-conference guard Justin James did not play much of the game after his nose was bloodied going for a rebound.

The Cowboys' leading scorer, Hayden Dalton (23.3 points per game entering Tuesday), was limited to two points in 23 minutes. He did not appear to be injured.

"I thought the troops rallied with each other and willed their way and found a way to continue to stay the course and come out of here with another win," Edwards said.

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